What's with the name?

What's with the name? In my mid-twenties, I had essentially gone through one kind of life and am starting to enter another. The people that are probably going to read this blog know exactly what I'm talking about - but for those who don't know, here's a brief rundown . Cheers to Chapter 2! A journey in health in many ways, and to be the best version of myself I can possibly be. I am also a blogger for GreenMommas.com. This is my blog.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Days 8 - 11 of the Uber-Long 21 Day Cleanse Diary

Day 8 :

At this point the eating regime has become somewhat normal to me. I don't allow myself to get really hungry because I find that's when I crave the food I'm not supposed to have the most. It scares me a little that my eating is so controlled right now and so is the weight loss. I know I have to add back in protein on Day 11 (Sunday), but I almost don't want to. But I have to remember I lost most of my weight in the last year at a very steady, much slower pace. Losing a pound almost every day is too fast. For a moment today I was tempted to revert to my teenage self; that girl that lost weight so fast by eating only around 800 calories a day and working out for two hour sessions. But when I was 15, I lost 80 lbs and gained it all back just as fast as I lost it. While the fast weight loss during this cleanse is comforting, this not a manageable way to eat, as tempting as it is to continue on with it just to lose weight fast. I am much smarter this time around.

And so, I will  add some healthy fats and proteins in to slow the weight loss down - it will be weight that stays off. I'll start in small portions, maybe just with dinner. I'm pretty tired of eating salad for lunch nearly everyday. After the cleanse I've already decided to implement a few changes to my nutrition plan : drink at least 64 oz of water a day, increase vegetable intake, reduce dairy and consider replacing a meal with the smoothie some days. I may end up staying gluten free, but the Italian in me is fighting for that not to happen. A big win for me is that I don't need caffeine anymore, I'm fine without it.

Today I went back to CrossFit after a week off from it. It was amazing. I felt stronger and faster with more energy. I missed it, for sure.

Around 4pm my cravings for food kicked in. I kept surfing the web for some sort of vegan spinach artichoke dip but all the recipes included tofu and/or nuts, which are both off limits. So I took matters in to my own hands! I went over to healthy living (I practically live there now) and perused the isles for an interesting dinner dish. I decided to make a spinach/artichoke pasta! I would use oil and veggie stock along with my old favorites garlic & onion which ended up being a delightful and filling dish! Now, I used organic brown rice noodles which tasted just like spaghetti, honestly. What's nice about the rice noodles is that that you can cook them just like a risotto, absorbing the flavor of the stock and spices. I was really happy with this dish :

Breakfast : Strawberry Blueberry Spinach Smoothie
Snacks : Apple
Lunch : Peach Pineapple Smoothie / BIG Salad w/vinaigrette
Dinner : Pasta! (not really). Rice noodles sauteed w/spinach, artichoke, red pepper, onions, garlic, vegetable stock & a little lemon juice.

Exercise : Back at CrossFit!

Day 9 :
8 days / 6.5lbs down

The scale keeps moving! I had a freak out moment last night when I realized that my brother's graduation in Boston was next weekend, not the weekend after (when I would be done the cleanse). There was no way I could face multiple dinners out and be on this cleanse, right? After my initial scare I made sure I had a room with a mini-fridge with a freezer compartment at the hotel so I could bring stuff for fruit smoothies. Noah reminded me that I would at least be able to eat chicken and fish out to dinner. I decided to bring all my food for breakfast and lunch and then I would at least be able to have protein and veggies at dinner. I can do this, right? The hotel also has a new fitness center which will help keep me on my game Friday & Saturday. So the only thing I'm going to have to say no to is the bread & wine, I can do it!

I'm a little sore from CrossFit yesterday but I was there again today. Since I was starving yesterday around 4 I waited to have lunch until after I workout, instead of before like yesterday. It was a good one! I was doing 70lb push presses, box jumps, squats and wall balls in a team of three. Our team was amazing, we did the most amount of rounds - 10 in 25 minutes. And I was definitely starving after.

Breakfast: Cherry Peach Spinach Smoothie
Snacks : Carrots, Apples
Lunch : Strawberry Banana Spinach Smoothie, Carrot Soup
Dinner : Sweet potato fries, steamed kale, rice

Days 10 - 11 :
11 days / -8.4lbs

Over the weekend the weight loss kept going, I am now down 8.4 lbs since the start of the cleanse which means I have lost 10.4 lbs this month. NEVER have I hit double digit weight loss in a month during this weight loss journey. I am beaming right now, incredibly happy.

I didn't intend to work out this weekend, but getting up Saturday morning I saw Sarah had already gone running! Feeling inspired, I laced up my shoes and headed out the door and I was so glad I did. I ran my fastest 5K time in just under 28 minutes!!! I stayed steady at 9min per mile for 3.1 miles - incredible! Not to mention it was beautiful outside this weekend.

My eating was good this weekend although I attended two very 'tempting' events. We went to see MGMT at SpringFest on Saturday. Watching pizza and gyros go by me I was a little jealous. But I know that when I get too hungry on this cleanse I start to get bad cravings. Avoiding the food trucks I went home and made a nice rice noodle stir fry for dinner and the cravings were gone. Sunday we went to Noah's parents house. He was so sweet to let his mom know about my cleanse. She bought me a piece of salmon and grilled some veggies for me. Sunday was day 11 so bring on the protein! I had a small piece of salmon for lunch avoiding chips, burgers, potato salad, rice krispie treats, cake and soda. I wouldn't normally indulge in dessert anyway, but if I was not on the cleanse I would've had a burger and some potato salad at least. It was great to spend most of the weekend outside! Beautiful VT spring weather.

This weekend was successful as the scale let me know on Monday!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Day 4 - 7 of the Uber-Long 21 Day Cleanse Diary

Day 4:

Day 4 went really well until I had to stare temptation full-on in the face. Meaning, this cleanse is pretty easy if you're surrounded with only things you can eat, not with things that you can't. I'll preface this by saying I did not cheat once at all during day four, but it was difficult, a real willpower test.

Being at least 1/4 Italian and 1/4 Irish my food indulgences (or should I say loves) are pasta & cheese. Especially when you combine them. My dad invited me over for Sunday dinner and I told him ahead of time that I was doing this cleanse and to have some veggies ready. So of course it was still the usual when I got there - a spread of wine, cheese and bread laid out on the table. I refused it all, grabbing a glass of water. Luckily he made a salad and I brought my rice to cook up, but he made - of all things - Chicken Alfredo - for dinner. My son loved it and I tried not to notice the steaming bowl of pasta and cream sauce that sat in front of me. But I did it, successfully, and headed home triumphant.

Breakfast : Cherry Strawberry Banana Spinach Smoothie
Snacks: Apple, Carrots
Lunch: Strawberry Blackberry Kale Smoothie / Roasted asparagus with spices & olive oil (8 large spears)
Dinner : 1/2 cup rice, mixed green salad with raspberry vinaigrette

Day 5 :
4 days / -3.5 lbs
Pretty happy with the scale. I know I probably won't lose as much when protein is added back in but the weight loss has been consistent. In the last 4 days I lost as much weight as I did last month, almost.

This morning I was super hungry and needed the shake right at 8:30. My exercise plan for the week is to walk Monday, then I am signed up for classes the rest of the week. Five days is enough of a rest week right? I made spicy vegan carrot soup this weekend. I even made my own vegetable stock, too. Took a bit of time, but I think I have a tasty carrot soup for lunches this week! I followed this recipe from Yummly, adding a bit more heat than the recipe called for. Let me tell you this carrot soup is blowing my mind right now. It's neat how far a little seasoning goes, and a hot cup of soup for that matter. I was shivering this morning after I downed my smoothie. Hot soup was just the thing I needed.

I had a pretty bad sugar craving around 8pm, probably because there were sweets on display in my fridge (cannoli, brownie sundae left over from my dads) that I was prohibited to touch. Even giving Landon his ice cream sandwich for dessert I had to remind myself not to eat the rest of it that he didn't finish. I have realized my bad habits when it comes to making food for Landon. If I'm making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, I'll lick the knife or I'll have a snack with him, eat his left over food, etc. I've had to stop myself from these habits many times during the day. I made myself a little frozen banana sorbet and the sweet craving passed.

Breakfast: Peach Mango Ginger Spinach Smoothie
Snacks: Apple
Lunch : Blueberry Strawberry Banana Smoothie, Carrot Soup, Mixed Greens Salad, Carrot Soup
Dinner: Lentil soup, broccoli & green beans
Dessert: Banana sorbet

DAY 6:
5 days / -3.7lbs

Trying not to be disappointed by the scale and it' .2 lb loss yesterday. I am crazy to be disappointed, I've lost 4lbs almost in just 5 days. Ok, still happy. Today, I'm starting workouts again! I'm starting with running and I've signed up for a few Yoga classes and CrossFit on Friday. I miss CrossFit, but I'll get back in to it Friday. I really shouldn't be doing it until I am eating animal protein again but vegans still strength train, right? I still feel great, tons of energy and honestly yesterday when I walked I had to stop myself from breaking in to a run. I'm ready. I didn't give myself a full week off (only 6 days off from high-intensity workouts) but hey I figured starting back in a little early is better than wanting to give myself too long of a break.

So today, yes TODAY, I ran. AND I met my one of my year-end goals of running a 5k in 30 min - in April. I flew on the pavement, or at least I felt I did. Call me amazed. I have been gluten, dairy, animal, caffeine and alcohol free for five and a half days and guess what? It made me a faster runner. Today, blog readers, was a good day. I can't express in words that feeling of surprising myself with meeting a goal more than 8 months early.

Breakfast: Strawberry Blueberry Banana Spinach Smoothie
Snacks: Carrots, Apple
Lunch: Peach Pineapple Spinach Smoothie, Steamed Broccoli & Cucumbers (those were not steamed)
Dinner: Steamed kale, rice, sweet potato fries (yum!)

DAY 7:
6 days/-4.4 lbs

We made it, one week down and two to go! Doing some math today if I keep on this steady weight loss progress, I could lose 15lbs in three weeks which is so exciting. It will take discipline with my dairy, meat & alcohol intake after the cleanse is complete to keep it off and keep losing. I think I'm going to stick with the fruit shake for at least one meal - perhaps breakfast. Although I love eggs and cheese.

Today was a fun day, Sarah went to a spin class with me today and she rocked it! Burned way more calories than I did (and I burned 480)! It is always so inspiring to me to see people start their own health journey. Today is also the last day of the SP Cleanse supplement and we move on to the green food supplements which means less capsules to take! Still feeling really great, went through a spin class today with tons of energy and I have not been hungry.

A week from today is the second Slim it to Win it weight in. I'm already down 7.6 lbs from that weigh in so I'm excited to see what the next seven days brings!

Breakfast : Strawberry Banana Spinach Smoothie
Snack : Carrots, Apple
Lunch: Peach Pineapple Smoothie, Garden salad, italian dressing (olive oil, oregano, balsamic)
Dinner : Stirfry (photo below)
Dessert : Banana sorbet
Exercise : Spin & Sculpt

Weigh in on Day 8 AM - lost 6lbs in 7 days! Also down 8lbs this month so far...

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Days 1 - 3 of the Uber-Long 21 Day Cleanse Diary

Here it is. The time has come. The countdown is over and now it is cleanse time. Almost 29 years in to life and I'm finally doing a cleanse. What is this cleanse I speak of, you ask? Well, I'm doing the 'Standard Process Purification/Detoxification' program which focuses on eating real, organic food (fruits, veggies wild rice for the first 11 days, adding deep sea fish and chicken for the last 10 days) while taking whole food supplements to support detoxification of the liver, kidneys and intestines. I have to thank my friend and fellow detox buddy Sarah for talking me in to this (I thank her now, but we'll see if I'm still thankful a few days in!). I may not have ever attempted something like this by myself.

For 10 days (of the 21) I will essentially be a vegan. No gluten, caffeine, alcohol or dairy is allowed the entire program. For the first 10 days my eating will consist entirely of veggies, fruits and a very limited amount of rice (1/2 cup). It is a bit intimidating but something I'm willing to do because what I eat has changed so much over the last year. I will not be experiencing the negative effects of withdrawing from caffeine, processed foods or sugar because I eat very little, if any. If you are interested in the program and following along with me (and my detox buddy!) check out the .pdf of the entire program here. I will be having a rice protein mixture to blend in to my fruit smoothies (twice a day) so I don't anticipate being terribly hungry but we'll see.

The Prep:

First, you have to find a standard process kit - normally they are only supplied by nutritionists, chiropractors   etc. But you can find them on Ebay or Amazon for around $200. You get everything you need for the 21 days and a nice booklet about the program including the food journal. You'll also need a blender for smoothies, which I had to purchase.

I bought some detox lemon tea as I can't drink green tea or any other tea with caffeine in it during the 21 days. It's highly recommended to taper off processed foods, sugar and caffeine prior to starting to avoid headaches. I had already pretty much stopped drinking coffee already (save one latte/week) and cut myself off from green tea two days before the start of the cleanse with no headaches. I don't normally eat processed foods or anything with refined sugars so it was an easy one there. I can see how it would be a horrible first few days of the cleanse if you try to quit everything at once - I heard that sugar is just as addictive as some illegal drugs (or more so) but I'm at a good point nutritionally to start this cleanse where I hope not to be miserable from withdrawal.

I started shopping a few days before, stocked up on wild rice, brown rice, frozen blackberries, mangoes, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, green beans (all organic, of course) to have for my smoothies. Then came the day before the cleanse and it was really time to load up on the veggies. In the last year I developed a love for almost everything green. I don't like mushrooms, however, but there are plenty of green veggies that I LOVE.  I am one of those people who prefers spinach over iceberg lettuce for a salad. I think Kale is one of my all-time favorites. I decided to shop for only a few days at a time so everything would be fresh. In a perfect world I'd love to be able to shop at open-air markets each day for my food like they do in so many other countries. Ideally I'd like to stop shopping at grocery stores all together and depend on local farms mostly for my food but that's a whole other thing to tackle. Anyway, I'm loaded up on veggies, fruits, high-quality oils, rice and am ready to go. Here's what my spread looked like on day 1:

Prepare yourself as I walk you through my journey, I'm providing  advanced apologies for any cleanse-induced rants that may happen. Read along, if you dare.

DAY 1:
I've been told the key to this cleanse/detox is preperation. So I packed my breakfast and lunch smoothie ingredients and a snack in containers for the work day. I woke up pretty stoked to start, actually munching on some raw kale to curb my hunger until I made my shake. The deal with this cleanse is you have to eat twice as many veggies as fruit, though they don't limit you on intake.

Breakfast Smoothie: 1 cup fruit (strawberry, rasberry, blackberry), 1 cup veggies (kale), 2 scoops SP Complete
Snacks: Carrots, Apple
Lunch: HUGE SALAD (meatless, dairy-free w/vinaigrette), Smoothie with 1 cup spinach, 1/2 cup mango, 1/2 cup peaches & fresh ginger
Dinner: Stirfry with garlic, onion, olive oil, wild rice, asparagus, green beens & carrots

The shake was OK although I'm a big fan of kale or spinach in smoothies anyway. The protein powder came off of chalky to me, which I also expected. Not too bad, wishing it was a little sweeter but completely drinkable. Also snacked on a cup of carrots too, might as well keep eating while I have the appetite. Downed the supplements with water at each meal (10 capsules total of organic whole food powders/herbs, 3 times a day) which was a bit difficult. Ginger tastes like sunshine. It's probably going to end up in all my smoothies from now on.

Day one I was hungry pretty much every 90 minutes - likely because organic fruits and veggies are so easy for your body to process so they would move out of my stomach quickly. Hunger is an interesting feeling. I didn't experience it too often on my current healthy eating plan (prior to the cleanse) because I always ate a fair amount of animal protein with each meal. Eating only fruits and veggies for most of the day was difficult, made me hungry at multiple points in the day and made me look forward to my one meal with rice that was allowed. I think for me, even though I do eat pretty healthy, it's important while going through this cleanse to recognize the feeling of hunger. Because I am drinking so much water I know the feeling is not thirst. And the opposite is true - I need to know what a 'full' feeling is for me. Not stuffed, but satisfied. During day one I noticed that drinking the smoothies did make me full but for a short period of time. I could quickly satisfy my hunger with some carrots, apple or other veggies.

Dinner tasted amazing. It was interesting how just the tiny bit of fat (olive oil) made the meal so tasty. For dessert I made myself a little frozen banana sorbet (just 1/2 frozen banana with a little water run through a blender) and that was also delicious. Day one went really well, I felt great at the end of it and followed all of the cleanse rules. In fact I drank 40 more ounces of water than recommended.

DAY 2:
I slept so well last night. Normally I sleep well but last night I don't recall moving or tossing around at all. Just like a rock. Got out of bed early and ready for the day, stepped on the scale first thing - I lost 1/2 a pound in day one. That's pretty reasonable considering I don't really have a lot of detoxing to do (clean eating for the past year or so) and that I only ate about 700 calories yesterday. Half a pound makes perfect sense. Day 2 is likely to look a lot like Day 1. I figured out yesterday that I was eating too little fruit (the suggested fruit serving sizes are generally bigger than the veggie serving sizes) so my shake this morning was huge and thick like sorbet, really yummy. I honestly did not taste the powder.

Breakfast : Banana, Blueberry, Strawberry & Spinach Smoothie
Snack: Carrots, Apple, frozen banana sorbet
Lunch: Mango Peach Ginger & Spinach Smoothie, mixed green salad w/balsamic vinaigrette
Dinner : 1/2 cup rice stirfry w/green beans and broccoli

At some point during my walk today I contemplated vegetarianism. I thought how respectable it was to be on a nutrition plan just like this everyday. A deliberate effort to not indulge in animal meat (or products for vegan). I realized having meat was an indulgence, really, or cheese or milk. They are things other live beings have to give to us. The last two days have really opened up my eyes to vegetarianism as a manageable lifestyle - I had not been too hungry in the last two days and was pretty full of energy, quite honestly. Maybe after this I will start eating less meat...so many other things are indulgences like coffee or alcohol. I am already two days in to this cleanse and trying to better define want vs. need when it comes to what I am eating or drinking, which is EXACTLY why I am doing it.

I felt really good the whole day and was never too hungry. Having a nice big warm meal at the end of the day (even if it was just a little bit of rice and a ton of veggies) was the perfect ending to the day.

DAY 3 :
Again last night I slept very well. Usually Landon gets here around 8am and we nap for an additional hour or two. He got here at 7:30 this morning and I honestly didn't feel tired at all. I do want to note this morning I felt like I had done a really good ab workout and I'm sure that's due to what's going on in my stomach and digestive system right now.

Got on the scale and I lost a pound and a half yesterday (2lbs in 2 days)! Now, I already know that you're thinking it's just water weight or effects of flushing things out of my digestive system but I know it's not either of those things. I am drinking so much water, up to 100oz/day to the point where I thought drinking that much water would make me weigh more. And another reason; this is a cleanse not a flush. There are no strange things coming out of me at a rapid pace.

Now a note about exercise during the 21 days. Standard Process recommends not doing any high-intensity workouts during the three weeks. I have been walking a few miles a day but I'm going a little crazy without my workouts - and I feel great. Today on top of some good house cleaning I did a bit of strength training to test the waters. Still felt fine. I will probably try to go back to my workout classes on Monday, I figure if I feel really fatigued I can just cut out of the workout early.

Breakfast: Kiwi Apple Spinach Smoothie
Snacks: Carrots, Banana sorbet
Lunch : Banana Orange Pineapple Ginger Spinach Smoothie, spicy kale & green bean salad
Dinner : Sweet potato (baked) spicy fries, steamed broccoli, 1/2 cup rice

Here is my breakfast smoothie and the kale & bean salad (sauteed with onions, red pepper flakes & chili powder). Apple and Kiwi wasn't my favorite combo, the smoothies with mango or berries have been better. I liked the extra spice of the kale and bean salad, I had been having a mixed green salad for lunch so this was a nice change.

Taking the supplements (30 capsules/day)  is not getting any easier but I find taking them with lemon water curbs the weird taste at least. Another good day on this cleanse. I'm satisfied with what I'm eating and really not that hungry.

Weighing myself at the beginning of day 4i lost another .8 lbs, down 2.8 total in three days - I'd say we can round that to 3!